Newsletter Archive

Newsletter 2016/02

The Smart CSOs Lab is entering a new phase. We are excited to tell you about it in this newsletter:

Videos from the Re.imagining Activism Conference last November

To effectively support the Great Transition to a truly sustainable and just society requires re.imagining our activism from a different level of consciousness. Last November social change leaders and activists from a diverse range of NGOs, grassroots, think tanks, academia and grant-making organisations came to Berlin to reflect on their own world views and to explore and co-create new ways for their organisations and networks to advance deep system change.

We were lucky to have with us filmmaker Rui Veras from the International Water Association. He interviewed participants and filmed impressions and views that participants expressed about the discussions at the conference. Watch them here.

Starting a new phase at the Smart CSOs Lab

After our big November conference and the launch of the re.imagining activism guide as well as of the movie The Numbers, we have been taking stock of the Smart CSOs Lab and thinking about where to go from here. The successes as a result of the last four years are clear: Our community of practice has grown in strength and size and the Smart CSOs thinking has inspired activists across Europe and globally, influencing their thinking and practice.

However, we have concluded that the Smart CSOs Lab is now at a turning point. To continue fulfilling the Lab’s potential and expanding its impact will require more professional and better resourced community organising in order to provide better support to a growing community and to help change agents put the Smart CSOs ideas into practice. To be able to do all this, our aim for this new phase is to build a small team at the core of the Smart CSOs Lab. We want to complement our recognised thought leadership with stronger capacity to facilitate learning in the community and beyond.

To achieve this ambition will require an increase of our core funding. We are kindly calling organisations (NGOs) to support our work and are grateful for any concrete funding opportunities that you can point us towards. Please get in touch if you would like to know more details about our plans and financial needs.

Smart CSOs Leadership Development Toolkit

As a first step in our bigger ambition in this new phase (see article above), we are glad to announce that we have just been awarded a grant by Fondation de France to create a trainer toolkit for activist networks and civil society organisations that want to become more effective at integrating systemic change in their work. It will involve online and offline tools and complement our recently published booklet, Re.imagining Activism – A practical guide for the Great Transition.

Demand has been expressed repeatedly amongst the Smart CSOs community to provide toolkits and workshop materials for multipliers and change agents to raise awareness and build capacity on system change in your networks and organisations. Since the successful launch of the re.imagining activism guide the demand to provide guidance for using the handbook in workshops and organisational contexts has been increasing.

With this project we want to tap into the potential to multiply learning and build leadership across and beyond the Smart CSOs network. Watch this space and our website over the coming months.

Paper copies of Re.imagining Activism, now available

We are happy to announce that our new publication Re.imagining Activism – A practical guide for the Great Transition is now also available as a little handy booklet in paper format. Using the button on our website, you can order up to 30 books. If you would like to order more than 30 copies or don't find the country for delivery in the list, please get in touch.

Based on the research collated and the ideas and experiences generated by the Smart CSOs Lab, we provide guidance and support to activists who want to make a meaningful contribution to systemic change. Re.imagining Activism provides practical advice and questions to ask ourselves when we want to change organisations, campaigns or become active on system change in another way.

Next economy ecosystem mapping by the Real Economy Lab

The Real Economy Lab is currently mapping the next economy ecosystem and you might want to participate in this project. The purpose of the Real Economy Lab is to build understanding and awareness of alternative ways of running and designing a next economy and to be a facilitator and connector of next economy change-agents, to join the dots and create the conditions for convergence across the next economy ecosystem.

The Real Economy Lab has been surveying the landscape and identifying the linkages between diverse initiatives and is seeking to provide an interactive platform where the cumulative knowledge, aims, and resources of these movements can be drawn together in order to seek common ground and drive coordinated action. The results of the survey will go into a database which will in turn fire up a new 250 strong organisational mapping showing the theories of change, the tactics, the strategies and the linkages between all of these next economy players.

For more information about the project and to do the survey, please click here.

The need to link personal with social and political transformation

It is always a pleasure to read Michael Edwards. Here in his annual article taking stock of his work as the editor of the Transformation section at openDemocracy: “Love is the anchor or inward expression of social justice, I think [Martin Luther] King was saying, and justice is the outward expression of ‘love in calculation’—a conscious design for remaking the world in a different image of ourselves. Radical transformations are possible if love and justice reinforce each-other to create a permanent shift in direction among human beings and the institutions they create.” See here for the full article.


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